Men and Women

Louise Perry On The Sexual Revolution

The Weekly Dish

The post-liberal feminist has a new polemic against casual sex, porn, BDSM, dating apps and prostitution.

Louise Perry is a writer and campaigner against sexual violence. This year she co-founded a non-partisan feminist think tank called The Other Half, where she serves as Research Director. Her debut book is The Case Against the Sexual Revolution: A New Guide to Sex in the 21st Century.

You can listen to the episode right away in the audio player above (or on the right side of the player, click “Listen On” to add the Dishcast feed to your favorite podcast app). For two clips of our convo — on whether Perry finds it suitable to watch porn while married, and if gay promiscuity is more harmful than straight promiscuity — pop over to our YouTube page.

In honor of Queen Elizabeth II, we just transcribed our episode with Tina Brown on the Royal Family, a conversation that aired in May. Here’s a snippet of audio:

Next up, a fan of last week’s episode with Matthew Rose on the philosophers of the radical right:

It was fascinating to listen to this conversation in the same week that Britain is mourning the late queen and rallying to a new king — with much of the world (including, to a perhaps embarrassing extent, this American) right alongside them. What is this British monarchy if not exactly what this episode was about: the ritually sacralized center of a civic religion that stretches back deep into the mists of medieval history, the ongoing value of which is its ability to bind together a people as a nation in a transcendent traditional order that appeals viscerally to most people? It’s hard not to be drawn into that drama and the sense of meaning it offers.

The episode with Matthew Rose is one of your best yet. I found myself stopping the player every minute or two to process another profound truth or insight. The closing discussion of how liberalism is vulnerable to its own ideals was the cleanest formulation yet of an idea that keeps coming up on the Dishcast (e.g. in the Fukuyama episode), and your guests’s citation of Strauss on the need to engage with our primordial illiberalism in order to preserve our liberalism is brilliant. I’ll be ordering a copy of Rose’s book.

Most interesting of all was Rose’s insight into what America’s two parties would be if stripped of Christian and classically liberal influences. It made me wonder: if the primordial Right is driven by a deep-seated need for loyalty and belonging, which can pathologically become chauvinism and authoritarianism, what non-Christian and non-liberal emotional needs drive the primordial Left’s obsession with perfect equality at all costs? I wonder if it’s a combination of compassion and guilt in the face of the unfairness of the world.

If that’s correct, we’re looking at two different primordial temperaments: one that prioritizes loyalty and belonging and is willing to rationalize unfairness, and the other that feels compelled by compassion and guilt to try to make the world fair and doesn’t care if all sense of community and identity is dissolved in the process.

Another fan of the Rose pod:

Not to diminish your other episodes, but this one is my favorite. It is not too complicated, as you worried, so please do not try to simplify the future episodes (though I know you won’t).

The praise for Rose continues:

With the exception of the rasp in your voice and the anxiety I feel listening to you struggle for breath, this episode was one of the best and most crucial you have recorded. Thank you for exploring the new right (including the episodes with Sohrab Ahmari and Michael Anton). I think they will have a dangerous influence on the future of American politics and believe that people need to be educated immediately.

Earlier this year I wanted to understand where people on the far right are coming from and took a deep dive. I have worked my way through Carlyle, Spengler and Burnham up to the current Neoreaction, including Curtis Yarvin and Bronze Age Pervert. It has been a six-month project, has consumed all my free time, and I am just starting to feel like I understand the intellectual underpinnings of the far right.

I have found myself both attracted and horribly repulsed. The desire for social order, meaning, and safety hits deeply primitive impulses. But I also feel like I am playing with intellectual fire. These are dangerous political theories that inevitably lead to authoritarian ends.

Whenever I discuss the new right with others, I always come off as a kook. It’s difficult to give an historical and philosophical background for why current parts of our citizenship think there will be an American Caesar in the near future. Eye-rolls abound.

You and Matthew Rose do the impossible and get to the core of New Right beliefs, lay them out logically, evaluate the pros and cons, and discuss the value of understanding them to strengthen our own belief in liberal democracy. All done in a little over an hour! I will recommend this podcast as a primer for anyone who wants an easy introduction into the far right mindset.

I was worried that the episode was too esoteric — especially with my strained voice. So the response has been wonderful to see. I share with my reader this push-pull feeling of both attraction and revulsion. But I think better understanding the attraction is vital to resisting it successfully. The endless denunciations of “Nazis” is both ineffective and deeply boring.

Another listener recommends a future guest:


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